650B wheels.
650B wheels with WTB rims and tires.

wheels (4)


New Wheels For My Marin Gestalt X12

Marin Gestalt X12 on new wheels

Huh? Another set of hoops? Didn't the bike already get new ones in November? Yes, but they didn't work well with the tires I wanted to use on the MGX12. So, I spent a week testing between the holidays and concluded that I needed to build a new set of wheels with Light Bicycle AR25 low-profile rims. The new wheels:

  • Light Bicycle AR25 rims, paintless UD carbon, 28H, drain holes, laser engraving
  • Light Bicycle 25mm rim tape
  • Sapim CX-Ray spokes
  • Red aluminum nipples
  • Red tubeless valves
  • Hope Pro 5 Centerlock front hub, 28H, 100x12mm, red
  • Hope Pro 5 Centerlock rear hub, 28H, 142x12mm, XDR, red
  • Hope Centerlock lockrings, red
  • Bucklos RT-MT760 Centerlock rotors, 160mm
  • SRAM XPLR XG-1251 cassette, 10-44T
  • René Herse Antelope Hill 700C x 55 TC tires, standard casing, tan sidewalls
  • Orange Seal regular sealant
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Wheel And Tire Testing

Climbing the Romontberg.

In November, I got a new wheelset for my Marin Gestalt X12. Before that, it was using seven-year-old Nox Composites Citico wheels with Chris King R45D hubs. The new wheels had Hope Pro5 Centerlock hubs, Light Bicycle WG44 rims, and René Herse Antelope Hill tires. I enjoy climbing on my bikes and also like to descend. The new wheels were great for climbing, fast on flat surfaces, and smooth on gravel. However, they were not perfect for descending. Specifically, when I exceed 50 kph with head and crosswinds on open descents that are not too steep, the steering becomes wobbly and insecure.

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Marin Gestalt X12 On New Wheels

Marin Gestalt X12 with new wheels.

How wide is too wide? My wide tire journey for road cycling started on Compass Barlow Pass (700x38) tires back in 2016. WTB Horizon (650x47) followed in 2018. When I put 650B wheels on my Nordest Albarda, René Herse Switchback Hill (650x48) and Panaracer GravelKing (650x48, 52mm actual) tires took me a big step further on that journey. My Marin Gestalt X12 started rolling on René Herse Snoqualmie Pass (700x44) tubeless “shoes.” This bike has room for much more, so much, in fact, that 44mm looks skinny.

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Back On 700C Wheels

Gravel road to Plagne, Switzerland.

In May of this year, I swapped my 700C Nox Composites wheels for 47° Nord hand-built 650B wheels. While I prefer the smaller wheels in combination with wider tires, I put the 700C wheels back on the bike for the fall and winter months. I did so for no practical reason other than that the 650B wheels needed new tires and the fact that I have the 700C wheels hanging in the basement with a few pairs of 700C tires sitting in my bike parts storage cabinet. In particular, I had a set of WTB Nano Race tires, which according to WTB aren’t tubeless compatible. For that reason, I tried to sell them, but I never found any taker. One evening, I got the tires out and tried them tubeless. Despite the manufacturer’s note, they were easy to mount tubeless. Easier, in fact, than some tubeless tires I’ve dealt with. For the next couple of months, I’ll therefore be on those Nanos. I have a pair of 42mm wide Teravail Washburn tires that may be mounted next.

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